The customer asked and the Multilingual Library delivered!
In May we received an email from Unnikrishnan Kurup (on right) asking if we had Malayalam books. We had no idea where such a language was spoken, even though the Multilingual Library collection has material in over 80 languages!
As information is close at hand now-a-days, and we quickly found out that Malayalam is spoken by close to 36 million speakers in Kerala, in Southern India. It is one of India´s 22 official languages.
Unnikrishnan Kurup and Sanitha Manoj visited the Pasila Library to chat about the Malayalam literature we acquired for them. Unnikrishnan has lived in Finland for seven years and Sanitha for four years. They both were positively surprised that the Multilingual Library could also buy books in Malayalam. After four months of waiting, the books reached their readers.
Upto now, the Malayalam community has brought books back from India and circulated them among the community. Since Sanitha had worked in the Sello Library in Espoo, she knew about the possibility to acquire literature in her mother tongue. In Sello she also ran a children´s club for Malayalam kids to help them learn the Malayalam language and culture.
The Finnish libraries positively surprised both Unnikrishnan and Sanitha with the available services: books in Malayalam, sewing machines for loan and meeting rooms that can be reserved for the Malayalam community´s get-togethers.
The first Malayalam-speakers moved to Finland nearly forty years ago. At present, there are about 400 Malayalam speakers in Finland. The majority is employed by the IT-sector in Espoo, but also Oulu, Tampere and Kuopio have small Malayali communities.